Okay, this is at Version 5 as of this morning, incorporating new feedback (with more to come) from my screenwriting group. Here’s the link!
I didn’t make the cut in the Nicholl competition (The Big One), and I was okay with that. I knew that only 5% of 7,000 submitted scripts would make it to the next round. Then I saw a post on Reddit from a guy who said, “I didn’t make it either, but got congratulated by them for making the top 10%!” So I thought, okay, well, I didn’t make the top 10%, I can live with that I guess. Then some other guy posts, “I got one of those too, for being in the top 15%!” That’s when I said AH FUCK 🙂
Oh well, everything’s subjective. Here’s the feedback I got from two different readers. The first reader, well, just didn’t connect with the story at all, and what can you do about that. The second reader liked the story, though, and gave me some interesting feedback that I can actually take to the group and say, what do you think they mean here? Both of them called out dialogue too “on the nose,” so I’ll have to cogitate on that as well.
Onward and upward! The script is never done until the picture’s locked, so be prepared for further updates 🙂
Round 1 – Read 1 Comments:
The story here had a good heart and meant well. However, there were some problems with the storytelling that kept it from being as successful as it could have been. My main issue with the script was that the plot line wasn’t very focused and tense. It went down tributaries involving both characters, sometimes using flashback. This was all interesting background but it took away from what I felt like the main tension needed to be – the coming together of the two characters. The story simply didn’t feel tight and focused. Too many of the events presented in scenes didn’t support the story. For these reasons, I was kept at a bit of a distance by the story and never engaged in a deep way.
Jamie was the main character. He was nice and likeable and I related to him on a level. However, I never latched onto him in a deep way or felt like I came to truly know him. Tom was the other major character and he was also likeable. Much like Jamie though, he never got under my skin. The secondary characters too often just felt like sounding boards for Jamie and Tom.
The crafting of the script was about average. A story was told that kept my attention. However, the scenes often didn’t push the story forward. The dialogue was occasionally a little too obvious and on the nose. However, there were also times where the dialogue was funny and showed some wit. There was too much scene description that got into unnecessary detail.
I didn’t feel the presence of a strong voice here. The command of the material wasn’t there to execute the story effectively. I didn’t feel a sense of confidence and command. The script lacked a fluency.
There was some meaning here. The theme was that even people who feel like they’re damaged, and unlovable because of this, can overcome. This idea came through and added a level to the script.
Round 1 – Read 2 Comments:
I loved the ending as Tom’s father surprises the hell out of every single-family member by being totally cool with Tom’s sexuality. I also liked that Jamie totally held his own with the football discussion and stood up for himself. There’s a lot of heart to the screenplay about two young men thinking they won’t find love in their lives because they feel broken. The meaning and message is that there’s a lid for pot and not to give up on love.
The script feels a little short for me. It seems to need another one or two beats and I think the ending could have had a few more complications. Perhaps not within Tom’s family but maybe within Tom and Jamie’s relationship. Perhaps with Jamie somehow.
While I think their relationship growth has a strong arc perhaps the individual character arcs could be better, specifically Jamie’s. I wasn’t as clear about his character arc as I wanted to be. Tom’s is very clear!
The dialogue is an area that could benefit from a little more work. It feels very on the nose and direct rather than having any subtlety or subtext. More work in this area would definitely make this script pop.